From Marco Island to Bonita Springs, seasonal lights shine through palm and oak branches, and throughout shopping courtyards and gated communities. They are uplifting sights to behold on the heels of a rollercoaster year—precisely the goal for Bill Kilgus, who started his family-run Trimmers Holiday Decor company 30 years ago. “People who look forward to holiday lighting are going to appreciate it so much this year,” says Kilgus. “The lights will make a much larger impact and be a big lift after what we’ve been through.”
The thousands who attend lighting ceremonies along Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South, and residents who see Kilgus’ handiwork at The Village Shops on Venetian Bay, Pelican Bay, Olde Cypress Country Club, or Quail Creek Country Club, may not realize that the designer has been the region’s trendsetter. His “creativity never stops, and our team of installers always set the bar high,” says his wife and business partner, Marji Kilgus.
Trimmers is generally acknowledged for introducing twinkle palm lighting to the region, and their approach has evolved. Kilgus now places custom factory orders to execute his visions. On his palms, “every third light bulb turns on and off slowly and softly” to create a fading effect, he explains. The norm has been “every fifth bulb, but it’s not effective. For some applications it’s okay but not on palm branches, so we made spacing a lot closer together.”
He also uses a costly, more durable, heavier-gauge wire than the industry standard, because he finds “the light is a tad bit brighter.” The company transitioned from incandescent to LED three years ago and chose a multifunction “computer tree” for Fifth Avenue South that can be set to fade from top to bottom (and vice versa) and emit pre-set colors.
Trimmers Holiday Decor is installing 150,000 sets of lights for 190 clients throughout Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties, as well as in Sarasota and Tampa, through two franchises. Though the magic of the holidays is brief, it’s a joy that sparks throughout the year for Bill and Marji Kilgus. “It makes us feel good to know in some small way we can make a little bit of a difference,” he says.